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Oxfam Addresses Poverty in ZimbabweThe country of Zimbabwe has a population of 14.86 million people as of 2020. Zimbabwe’s poverty rate stood at 38.3% in 2019, increasing at a yearly percentage of 10.32%. Due to a high prevalence of poverty in the nation, Oxfam addresses poverty in Zimbabwe to improve the lives of citizens. Across the world, Oxfam is lowering poverty rates in developing nations through initiatives that combat hunger, strengthen livelihoods and supply water and sanitation services, among other efforts. With Oxfam’s help, Zimbabwe may be able to target and reduce poverty across the nation.

Combating Hunger and Improving Farming

In June 2020, Oxfam reported that more than 17 million individuals “across Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa” faced food insecurity as a consequence of the impacts of the severe 2019 drought on agriculture. In the same month, Oxfam warned that the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic could intensify circumstances of food insecurity for more than 40 million individuals in Southern Africa. The food insecurity situation is so extreme that Zimbabweans are crossing the Kafwambila border into Zambia “to exchange their goats and cows for a small bag of maize flour.”

Oxfam is able to help people in need of dependable sources of food. Oxfam addresses poverty in Zimbabwe by working with local leaders to deliver clean water and food to citizens in need. In emergency situations, Oxfam provides cash transfers so that people can purchase food according to their needs and preferences.

The Benefits of Agricultural Productivity

A 2011 OECD study analyzed poverty reduction successes between 1980-2005 across 25 nations. The study’s specific in-depth analysis of poverty reduction in Ghana, Indonesia, Vietnam and Ethiopia found that more than 50% of poverty reduction relates to “growth in agricultural incomes.” This shows that agriculture plays a crucial role in global poverty reduction.

Increased agricultural productivity can increase farmers’ incomes and food production in a country and reduce the costs of food overall while providing job opportunities. According to a 2014 Africa Renewal article, Zimbabwe requires 1.8 million tons of maize annually to adequately provide for the country’s people and livestock. However, during the 2012/2013 agricultural year, Zimbabwe produced less than 800,000 tons of maize.

The agricultural sector in the country depends on factors such as optimal weather conditions and adequate rain to grow quality crops. Due to the significance of agriculture in poverty reduction, Oxfam helps nations like Zimbabwe to improve agricultural productivity by introducing new farming techniques to farmers and by providing supplies such as seeds and tools so that people can cultivate their own food.

How Oxfam Addresses Poverty in Zimbabwe Through Hygiene and Health Care

In Zimbabwe, outbreaks of diseases such as cholera stem from poor water, hygiene and sanitation facilities. In 2018, one of the most severe outbreaks of the disease in Zimbabwe stemmed from sewage pipes that burst and contaminated drinking water supplies. Oxfam provides countries with clean water, soap and toilet facilities to avoid water contamination and promote proper hygiene.

Oxfam also recognizes pressing issues that come during sudden disasters. When Cyclone Idai struck Africa in 2019, nations faced water contamination due to “extensive damage to water supplies and sanitation infrastructure.” Oxfam initially worked to provide up to 500,000 individuals in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe with water treatment kits, hygiene kits and clean water.

Looking Ahead

Oxfam is taking many steps to address poverty in Zimbabwe by assisting in the areas of food security, agricultural development and water, sanitation and hygiene. The organization’s efforts have and will continue to positively impact the lives of those facing poverty across the globe.

– Katelyn Rogers
Photo: Flickr